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RC recommendations a step forward for physio

Recommendations made to the royal commission on allied health go a long way to supporting physiotherapy in aged care and improving the quality of life of residents, an allied health peak body has told  Australian Ageing Agenda.

At last week’s two-day and final hearing Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety presented 124 recommendations to overhaul the aged care system including to improve residents’ access to multi-disciplinary and restorative allied health care services.

Counsel Assisting found that aged care residents have insufficient access to allied health professionals and that practitioners are not funded to deliver the most appropriate or evidence based interventions.

“Multidisciplinary allied health care is not being systematically provided to people as part of aged care,” Counsel Assisting said in their submission.

“A particular complaint about the operation of the Aged Care Funding Instrument was that it is reactive and does not incentivise or support preventative care.”

The current policy also means that residents may be charged for allied health services if they are not assessed as requiring it under ACFI, Counsel Assisting highlighted.

“It is perverse that people are charged for services that may avoid or delay deterioration in their health, but services are provided for free once they have deteriorated,” they said.

“A number of physiotherapists told us of their frustration at not being able to provide the allied health care they knew their client needed because they were required, by the approved provider, to provide a limited range of non-evidence based pain management services to ensure retention of funding under the Aged Care Funding Instrument,” Counsel Assisting said.

Counsel Assisting have called for far better integration of allied health provision in residential aged care. Their recommendations include that the Australian Government:

  • require residential care providers to engage a team f allied health practitioners that includes physiotherapists, occupational therapists, exercise physiologists, podiatrists, pharmacists, speech pathologists, oral health practitioners and mental health practitioners
  • provide funding to providers to engage allied health professionals through a blended funding model with a capped base payment per resident to cover about half of the costs of establishing ongoing engagement and an activity-based payment to cover each item of direct
  • ensure strict monitoring of the level of allied health services actually delivered.
Rik Dawson

Australian Physiotherapy Association director Rik Dawson the recommendations support holistic and multidisciplinary care options.

“We’re broadly supportive of Counsel Assisting’s recommendations. They are wide reaching and go a long way to supporting allied health’s increased involvement in aged care,” Mr Dawson told AAA.

Published by Australian Ageing Agenda to read more open the attached link https://www.australianageingagenda.com.au/royal-commission/rc-recommendations-a-step-forward-for-physio/.

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